I started this weblog 5+ years ago as a successor to my original pro-John Edwards blog. (At one point I owned some pretty good John Edwards presidential domain names, but have let them lapse). The idea was to harness the progressive maelstrom that was building, that the forces of change were accumulating, that incremental change was not the path forward. We needed to define The Next America. Then create it.
Needless to say, I've wandered off track in this weblog. Right now my most popular posting is exercise bike repair tips. Fortunately, America has surpassed my expectations in the meantime.
It's hard to pin a desire for radical change on a 52/48 vote. Then again the map shows more of a mandate.
Obama ran a campaign like no other -- one that used the web, embraced youth, embraced those outside the political inside track, mobilized people. While he did all the conventional campaign things right too. Every week I was getting emails trying to get me to help -- go to New Hampshire, make some calls, send cash. In the early days, they were phone calls (Rhode Island was of more interest in the primary than the general). I couldn't help, other than sending cash -- a new baby and a overwhelming job combined for that.
The most important part of the Presidency isn't the man in the White House. They're a cheerleader, a decision maker of last resort, an inspirer. It's the 500 senior executives that they appoint to run the federal government. That was the difference between Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush -- both were hands off visionaries, but Reagan had a team of gifted leaders that could accomodate and support his management style. If I had to pick one person to be king, I would have picked John McCain. But I was picking one person to be team captain for our national schoolyard, to pick the 500 kids on our kickball team who are going to have to lead America through some overwhelming challenges. This week there is so much energy, so much hope, so many people who have spent years at work hoping for a spot on the kickball team, so many people who spent years just to give a new team captain a chance. The current kickball team wasn't cutting it and neither would a mere reshuffle of the same old players under a new captain.
This is our shot at the Next America. This is the time for a new generation of leaders in Washington -- the mid-level leaders from Clinton II are at their prime -- not hardened and wizened as they will be in 8 or 12 years. There won't be this passion, this acceptance of change in America as a whole. Not for another generation. This is 1980. This is 1964. This is 1932. This is 1904. This is 1792.
In 4 years or 8 years, we'll be back to incremental change. We may be derailed by bad luck or forces beyond our control. But we've backed a visionary longshot before and he won this week. Why can't his kickball team win the big game if we put the same amount of energy, passion, and ideas behind it? Yes we can.